Therapist response to intimate partner violence: A qualitative content analysis

Damon L. Rappleyea, Steven M. Harris, Charette A. Dersch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article describes a modified study originally conducted by Hansen, Harway, and Cervantes (1991) that sought to understand how clinicians recognized and responded to potential indicators of intimate partner violence. Eighty-four mental health practitioners, blind to the purpose of the study, read a clinical vignette and then responded to four open-ended questions. Conceptual categories were generated from the open-ended questions using a qualitative content analysis. The constant comparative method was used to group themes within categories. It was concluded that licensed marriage and family therapists recognized the potential for domestic violence in the vignette and would choose to respond to such cases by increasing the safety of participants and providing conflict resolution skills as the focal point of treatment. The applicability of the findings and direction for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-51
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Couple and Relationship Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Couple conflict
  • Domestic violence screening
  • Intimate partner violence


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